Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Be Prepared"

That old Scout motto makes sense when the weather around here is so unpredictable. We had to send JT out in jeans and rain boots during the last snow storm since we hadn't gotten around to buying the right gear yet. Not to be shamed twice, we immediately picked up some snow boots and pants (why do they call it a "bib?"), thinking he'd probably never need them and they wouldn't fit by next winter. But then it snowed again yesterday, and we were prepared!

We got some winter use out of the swing set by calling it a snow fort.

Papa wasn't very nice when he was shoveling, but Joseph didn't seem to mind:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rhythm Nation

In the Fall Joseph and I started a music class together called, well, "Music Together." This particular class is at Glen Echo Park in Maryland, kind of a retro amusement park with a carousel and puppet theater and such. We have to cross over a creek to get there from the parking lot.

We're now into our 2nd session, because he loves it so much. Some of the songs are classics reworked, some are original, and then there's all this tonal and rhythm pattern new-agey kinda stuff, along with the super-cheesey hello and goodbye songs. I must restrain myself from laughing at times, but it really is somewhat infectious in the end. They give you 2 cd's - one for the car and one for the house, so we're listening to it constantly. One of the nice things is that the teacher often gets the kids up and moving too, like this:

Shake your groove thing Joe Joe!
And the end there's also a sweet lullaby. Our teacher plays the flute, and encourages the kids to be "hands on" with the instruments.

I'm sure we'll sign on for a 3rd session. Check if they have this in your area!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where The Wild Things Are

That would be our study...

In all seriousness, they may seem wild at times, but they are just too cute to watch playing together. When Jack found out it was time to leave today, he said, "But I think I'm having fun!"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Don't jump!

Since Joseph likes to do this:

It was time to do this:

He's also climbed out of his crib twice recently. Before we convert the crib into a toddler bed (and therefore give him full access to roam free in his room), we removed the box spring from his big boy bed to lower it in the event he gets the crazy idea to jump off there like he does at Gymboree. Now I have to start bolting things to the wall too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let the sun shine!

Finally, after so much bitter cold winter weather, a day in the 50's so we could play outside!

Is this a woman who has her act together, or what?! Mis makes it look easy to get 2 kids out the door for some fun in the sun.

Will is getting so big. Look at those cheeks! He's wearing Joseph's old hat, which he outgrew after only a month or two.

Already missing Mimi

Mimi left at the crack of dawn this morning, long before Joe Joe was even awake, after a wonderful long weekend visit. He loves his Mimi so much and would rather be with her than us when she's near.

We mostly just spent quality time together, but we did venture out to the National Building Museum on Saturday. It's always a treat to ride the choo choo train downtown.

Had to keep working on those stacking skills, now that we know they exist.

Imagination is a wonderful thing to see in action. With all the building supplies around, Joseph decided to cook instead, making a big vat of soup, stirring and stirring, and asking Mimi to taste once in a while.

I personally really love this place. Once the kids are tired of the Building Zone, they can just run around in the amazing center hall. Look how little Joseph and Papa are compared to those massive columns!

Mimi also did her fair share of babysitting so we could go out for a little dinner/movie date. Thanks, Mimi! We miss you too!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tower Power

It's gotta be tough for poor JT to have 2 pediatricians for fathers who watch out for every little developmental milestone. One elusive skill has always been stacking blocks. The older kids get, the higher the tower they can supposedly build. I could never say whether he could do it or not, since every time I tried to show him how, he'd just knock the tower down and laugh hysterically. Then the other day I'm in the kitchen and hear him dump out all the blocks from his shape sorter onto the living room floor - a sound I've heard a thousand times already, so I thought nothing of it. A minute later I go to see what he's up to, and he's doing this:

Luckily my camera is never far from me!

2 year olds should stack 4, 3 year olds can stack at least 6. Our little superstar got to 10 before they toppled, but he gets massive bonus points from this pediatrician for balancing the majority of blocks on top of that parallelogram thingy 3rd from the bottom. (And for your interest, I Googled it, and a 3-D parallelogram is called a parallelepiped. Huh?)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cookie Monster

Brent's book club knows they're always in for a treat when it's his turn to host. We generally put out a pretty good spread, and I always bake something yummy. This time I tried a new cookie recipe from Martha, Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies. They have everything in them - oatmeal, toffee chips, bittersweet chocolate, and dried cherries. They were good, but the amazing thing is that they are H.U.G.E! I tried to take a picture of the cookies themselves, but without a frame of reference for size, they just look like regular old cookies. Take a look at these monster sized cookies with our little cookie monster:

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Flip"ing out

My big gift from Brent for Christmas this year was an HD Flip video camera. I might have given him a hint that I wanted one by clipping out the Best Buy ad and leaving it on the counter for a month or 2. Here's one of the 1st videos I took:

Poor thing eventually has to learn how to spell it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Express Yourself

Missy always has something fun in mind for the boys to do indoors when it's just not possible to go outside. Yesterday she had an art studio set up in the dining room.

Jack's brush strokes are a little more refined that Joseph's, but I'm sure Joseph's will improve, since it's clearly a case of monkey see:

monkey do:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This year I resolve:

To take even more pictures than I already do. Is that even possible?! But look at these adorable pics from dinner at Missy and Matt's last weekend that they emailed to me. What a cute kid pile-up on Uncle Matt!

Dinner was officially to celebrate Missy's birthday, but Sabrina got a turn at the candles since she just turned 3. We had to relight them since Joseph just pushed his way right in and blew them out the 1st time!

But what do I really resolve?
1. To try to read at least a book a month for the whole year. I've let that pastime slide way too long. Reading is always the 1st thing to go when I'm busy, and it seems I'm always busy, so I'll just have to make the time.
2. To try at least 1 new recipe every week. I try a lot of new things, but nowhere near that many. I get stuck in too many ruts, and have so many great cookbooks to choose from!

What are your resolutions?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Visitors from Up North

After Christmas Here and Christmas There, you think we'd be done with Christmas. But not so, as we still had to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family. So Santa dispatched another truckload of presents from the North Pole, and got them here by way of New Jersey.

Joseph was VERY excited to get lots and lots of Thomas stuff.

Did I mention it was LOTS of Thomas stuff? A covered bridge, a swing bridge, a quarry mine tunnel, a deluxe lights and sounds fire station, and more trains than I kept track of. He should be good for a while. But I tell you what - that train table was the 1st thing he made a bee-line for when we got back from Louisiana, he missed it so much. Joseph sends his thanks to Grammy and Grandpa and Uncle Paulie.

Brent and I made out pretty well with a slow cooker from Williams-Sonoma. Already been used within 2 days of opening it!

"Baby Brother" is still a hit too. Grammy gave him his milk while Joseph had his.

Aunt Suthern and Uncle Glenn had shipped their big present to Joe Joe to the house, thankfully. But someone else with a "J' name made themselves comfortable.

Speaking of visitors from up north, some Eskimos came to take Joseph to the train exhibit at the US Botanical Gardens again.

Oh wait, that's just my parents. We had to wait outside for a few minutes because the line was so long. Man, it was cold! I know you don't need to see any more train photos, so here's what the rest of the joint looks like, along with some pics I took of the gorgeous flowers on display.

Oh, guess I should say Happy New Year too!